Photo credit with special thanks to Leeway Foundation photographer
"MAY THE DIVINE WITHIN ME SHINE WITH THE DIVINE IN YOU. NAMASTE."
Ritu is an indigenous multidisciplinary folk artist of east Indian origin. Her practice is rooted in the ancient arts of India which includes Folk dance, Yoga, Trance and Bollywood dance, Rangoli & Mandala, Ayurvedic cooking, Henna and Batik painting. She has been a South Jersey resident for more than 40 years. In addition to her commitment to preserve and passing down Indian traditions to community in South Jersey, She has been dedicated to sharing these traditions with the larger community in an effort to create cross-cultural dialogue and bridge social challenges.
From Ritu’s hometown of Agra, India to her adopted home in southern NJ for over 40 years (first Somerdale, and then Voorhees), with great care, privilege and pride, she brought her knowledge of rural Indian folk dance to share with her children and other Indo-American girls and women and men in SJ, who became her folk group. The music, costumes and choreography of folk dance reflected their common language, aesthetics, values and traditions, which they all held so dear and rooted them deeply to one another and to their homeland. As a natural leader, Ritu shared everything she knew with her folk group, as well as with the larger community. In addition to folk dance, Ritu has extensively taught yoga, batik painting, mandala, henna, and Ayurvedic cooking.
Over the years, along with her folk group, she has performed, presented and exhibited her art forms at various venues in the region including: the Univ. of Tennessee; the University of Pennsylvania Museum; Ohio State University; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Center for Folklore and Ethnography; Museum of Archeology & Anthropology; Kimmel Center; Kripalu Center, MA; Please Touch Museum; Rutgers University; Rowan University; William Paterson University NJ; Newark Museum; Discovery Museums, Feast Your Eyes Catering; Boat People SOS Pennsauken; Camden & Burlington County Cultural Heritage Centers; Wheaton Arts & Cultural Center; Camden County libraries; Lindenwold School District; Camden Catholic Partnership Schools; Appel Farm Arts & Music Center; Smithville mansion; NJ Kids Fest; Perkins Center for the Arts; Grounds for Sculpture amongst many more.